What Would Peter Drucker Say

Harvard Business Review have been celebrating the centenary of the birth of Peter Drucker, one of the fathers of modern management.  HBR publish some of his classic contributions, as well as perspectives on Drucker’s influence from key contributors including Rosabeth Moss Kanter and Ellen Peebles.

Classic Drucker articles for the HBR include Managing Oneself and What Makes an Executive Successful (Registration with HBR required to read the full articles).  In What Makes an Executive Successful (Note 1), Drucker outlines the 8 steps all successful executives follow – whether they are dull or charismatic, easygoing or controlling, generous or parsimonious.  They all asked the followed these practices:

  1. What needs to be done?
  2. What is right for the enterprise?
  3. They developed action plans
  4. They took responsibility for decisions.
  5. They took responsibility for communicating.
  6. They were focused on opportunities rather than problems.
  7. They run productive meetings.
  8. They think and say “We,” not “I.”

In Managing Oneself (Note 2), Drucker discusses how we must take responsibility for managing ourselves over the course of our working lives.  “To do this, you’ll need to cultivate a deep understanding of yourself. What are your most valuable strengths and most dangerous weaknesses? Equally important, how do you learn and work with others? What are your most deeply held values? And in what type of work environment can you make the greatest contribution?”  Drucker outlines simple questions (if hard in practice) that we must ask ourselves to begin the journey of self-awareness.

  1. What are my strengths?
  2. What are my values?
  3. Where do I belong?
  4. What do I contribute?

Note 1: What makes an Executive Effective, Peter Drucker, Harvard Business Review, June 2004

Note 2: Managing Oneself, Peter Drucker, Harvard Business Review, January 2005

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